I don’t know how they got there. A clump of yellow daffodils blooming well before the others in our yard. Growing on the edge of the field where neither of us planted any, in the middle of piles of dead leaves and tangled brush.
But they made me smile, reminding me of a deeper story.
Sometimes when you think there’s nothing left,
When you think all is dead and crumbled,
When all is dried up and tangled and silent,
When it looks as though nothing good can come from the pile of the past,
Something beautiful grows from within it, reaches up to the sun, and blossoms.
I’ve done a lot of volunteering in the years gone by. I’ve walked dogs at the animal shelter. I’ve played bingo with the nursing home residents. I’ve been a youth leader and a choir member and a server at the soup kitchen.
And it was beautiful. Each time taught me about serving and loving—and how we are all so very much the same at heart.
But during a season of heartache and burnout combined, I drew back. I pulled out of each ministry and sought silence more, simplicity more--Jesus more.
I found that sometimes when we’re in ministry, we focus more on serving than on the One we serve. Sometimes pride creeps in with the labels that accompany our deeds or committees or outreach. We feel justified by our contributions to a named ministry. Sometimes we forget that we are only the vessel.
My heart is full but my mind is empty as I sit here with my laptop, trying to form words to describe it.
But how can you share a week in a paragraph? How can you convey the beauty of another culture in a simple post? How can you type emotions and faces?
So it rests in my heart for now. And it stirs every so often, reminding me it wasn’t a dream, that I’m not meant to come back to my little bubble and forget.
I was humbled by a people who have little and love much. Who sing loudly in church and smile when they’re fasting. Who fight for justice and work harder in a day than I have in my life.
I was inspired by a group of college students who laughed about air mattresses that sunk onto a hard gym floor and showers that were freezing. Who shared from their hearts each night and served from their hearts by day.
And I fell in love with little dark-eyed kids who fought to sit on your lap or hold your hand or share a secret.
The hardest part is coming home, figuring out how to bridge the gap.
But maybe I don’t have to figure anything out for now. Maybe I just need to remember two words.
Because I can do that here, too. The One who showed us how to love and to serve (John 13:14) can show us opportunities to do so every day.